A Rutherford College man who was charged in a 1985 murder was served with a governor’s warrant that orders the state to hold him without bond until he can be taken back to California.
Edwin Jerry Hiatt II, 52, of 111 G White St. in Connelly Springs, was charged May 9 with the murder of Barry Crane, a producer and director known for his work on episodes of “The Incredible Hulk,” “Wonder Woman,” and “Hawaii 5-0.”
Crane, 57, was found dead in his Los Angeles home on July 5, 1985, with his naked body wrapped in bed sheets in his garage. His autopsy revealed that he had been beaten to death with a large ceramic statue and strangled with a telephone cord, according to court documents filed earlier this year in Caldwell County.
Hiatt, who has been in custody since his arrest awaiting extradition, was connected to the crime by cigarette butts and a disposable coffee cup left in the parking lot at an auto repair shop where Hiatt was working. DNA on two of the items collected matched DNA found on five cigarette butts recovered from the ashtray of Crane’s stolen vehicle, the court documents said.
Had the governor’s warrant not been served, Hiatt would have been eligible to be released from custody following his Monday court date. Hiatt wouldn’t have been off-the-hook for the crime, but he would not have stayed in law enforcement custody, court officials said.
The California governor’s requisition and agent appointment form was signed off on July 17, according to court documents. A California deputy secretary of state certified Monday that a California superior court judge and a clerk of superior court signed off on the forms.
After phone calls and an email this week to Gov. Roy Cooper’s office went unanswered, The News Herald contacted the FBI’s Charlotte Office on Thursday for information on the governor’s warrant.
It wasn’t until Thursday that Cooper signed off on the warrant.
Hiatt still is scheduled to appear in court Monday. He will be given the opportunity to apply for a writ of habeas corpus to challenge the extradition.
Chrissy Murphy is a staff writer and can be reached at email@example.com or at 828-432-8941. Follow @cmurphyMNH on Twitter.